Homeschooling is a subject that evokes strong opinions from people. Generally, I stay away from contentious topics in my real life because, like most highly-sensitive people, I SUCK at confrontation. However, J and I have made the somewhat controversial decision to homeschool our son, and I couldn’t be happier about this.
My history with homeschooling is quite personal. Ever the trailblazers, my parents advocated for homeschool long before it became trendy. They believed that a quality education from home was not only possible but perhaps more valuable than a traditional one. They attempted to homeschool me in 1993 using a correspondence curriculum. The decision was all theirs, and I felt conflicted about seeing my friends move on to the next grade without me…although the idea of never returning to school again was pretty damn exciting.
As it happened, things didn’t pan out, and I returned to public education one year later in order to start high school with my peers. The experience was both rewarding and confusing. I was a self-motivated and independent learner, eager to continue; the experiment failed mainly from lack of planning on my parents’ part and little to no resources. Not knowing any other homeschooling families, we suffered without connection and support.
During high school, I spent a lot of my free time reading books about homeschooling. Even though I loved learning, I hated the high-school environment with a passion reserved only for angst-y teenage girls.
My angst notwithstanding, I was attracted to the advantages homeschooling offered. I loved the freedom, flexibility, and independence idealized by homeschool. Even if it wasn’t going to work for me, I wanted to educate my own children from home if/when the time came. My research was based on library books (remember those?), and I believed with all my heart in homeschooling’s amazing potential when successfully implemented.
Of course, at that time, not many could foresee the huge impact that the Internet would have. Over the past 20 years, its development has made homeschooling and home-school support more accessible to families than ever. It blew the lid off my old knowledge and still does as the body of research continues to grow and the face of homeschooling evolves.
Having said all this, no amount of reading/study speaks more strongly to you than your gut, especially when you’re a mom. Like me, my son is highly sensitive. He is intelligent, imaginative, strong willed, and focused. He’s also tirelessly active, stubborn, and demanding. I know my son better than anyone, and I know my family. This is what I feel is right for us. With good planning, lots of love and support, homeschooling is the way to go.
Homeschooling is NOT for everyone. Just as a more traditional education might not be best for everyone. I am learning (baby steps) to speak my mind and use my voice to choose the paths that will best serve me and the ones I love. This is progress, and I am so proud to be able to make big-scale decisions that feel right…instead of going against my gut and agreeing to things that feel “off” in order to avoid confrontation.
I’m open enough to say that we will homeschool for as long as it works for us. I’m not against making a new plan of attack if this turns out to be the wrong decision. But I am not afraid to commit to this lifestyle and give it my all.
I’m not afraid to say that we are a homeschooling family, hoping to learn from past mistakes and gain lots of supportive friends along the way.